Jury Convicts Washington Man in 2017 Murder of Southeast Alaska Surgeon

By tess williams

Updated: 27 minutes ago Published: 29 minutes ago

A Washington man accused of killing a Ketchikan surgeon was convicted Thursday by an Anchorage jury on murder and robbery charges.

A trial began in early May for Jordan Joplin, now 38, for the charges he faced in the death of Dr. Eric Garcia, 58, who was murdered in his home in 2017. The two men were in a relationship and they had known each other for about six years before Garcia’s death, a prosecutor said during the opening statement at trial.

The case was moved to Anchorage due to the amount of publicity it received in Ketchikan.

Joplin visited Garcia in March 2017 before the men planned to go to Las Vegas, a prosecutor said during the trial. Joplin returned to Washington the day after arriving in Ketchikan. Investigators later found video on Joplin’s phone that was taken the day he left showing Garcia gasping for air at his home. A clip was shown to jurors during the trial.

Garcia was found dead 10 days later when police entered his home. He died from a fatal dose of morphine, lawyers said during the trial.

Investigators discovered that nearly $40,000 had been transferred from Garcia’s checking account to Joplin in the days after his death, including some transactions made after Garcia’s death, the prosecutor said. Joplin also sent three containers of Garcia’s belongings, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, to his home in Washington.

Joplin called the Ketchikan Police Department multiple times after returning to Washington with concerns about Garcia. Prosecutors said the calls were one of many lies Joplin told authorities during the subsequent investigation into Garcia’s death.

Defense attorneys argued during the trial that Garcia was a generous man who was in love with Joplin. They said he consumed the morphine that caused her death, whether intentional or not.

Jurors found Joplin guilty Thursday of charges of first-degree and second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

Joplin was in custody at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on Thursday, according to an online database. Sentencing for him is scheduled for October and he faces between 30 and 101 years in prison.

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